If you are a bitter kitten, you know what the title means. We will be exploring the digital narrative that is Tom and Lorenzo. But it’s just a series of blog posts about fashion, I hear the non-believers cry. Oh, contrare. If you pay attention and read About, you will sus out the stories and themes that create a consistency in the blog – an environment. As you read the comments, you will also find an engaged, articulate community with virtual friendships among people who cross multiple demographics.
TLo established the platform: a blog that constructively critiques fashion and educates its readers about color, cut, and style. The writing style is distinct: funny, smart, not snarky. Some posts posit questions to the readers or include a poll. The readers elaborate on TLo’s posts and bring their own expertise and perspectives. If Reader A poses a question about dress construction, multiple other readers who are designers or seamstresses respond. New readers may be a bit confused by the inside jokes and specific terminology. After reading a few posts, you too can be a bitter kitten, who bemoans the ubiquity of Photoshop.
In addition to the “you” discussed in Digital Storytelling, TLo uses “we”, obviously, and includes their disagreements about various pictorials or clothes. Thus, the audience joins the conversation mid-stream instead of being prompted or told to start discussing. T and Lo establish some individual personality traits, but build “TLo” as the main character or persona. The readers sees the world through the eyes of TLo, not a T post and a Lo post.
The framework of the posts is similar. A series of photos is posted with accompanying praise, critique, or expressions of confusion. The tone is always constructive and intelligent. Occasionally, TLo, who do moderate the comments, will state which topics are off-limits – i.e. no more comments about Rose McGowan’s plastic surgery.
The community was not created overnight, and the blog has undergone several iterations. Every story has drafts until the author finds his/her voice and focuses on the key themes. Other social media platforms are included, as well as live blogging for special events. Now that TLo have established the base story template for their environment, they will write new chapters until they lose their audience.
While TLo occasionally appear on TV or give radio interviews, they rarely link to the parent websites or include those files on their site. Their narrative is photos and text. Those other media experiences would push readers away from the main site and from posting their own opinions. The interactive community is solely at this blog-site.
No matter what fancy AV bells and whistles you want to use, the words ultimately attract the reader. If you can write well with a specific style and coherency, you may be able to build an interactive blog site. If your story or site lacks style or overwhelms with technology, the reader won’t feel connected. A good digital narrative invites a reader into its world and allows the reader to create his/her own character. It also recognizes that some of the readers have more expertise than the author and doesn’t mind.
More importantly, both Shelley O (Michelle Obama) and Cathy Cambridge (Katharine, Duchess of Cambridge) are around to cleanse the sartorial palate.